In a speech to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, President Obama has said Israel will face growing isolation without a credible Middle East peace process and repeated his call for Israel to retreat to pre-1967 borders.
“We can’t afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades to achieve peace. The world is moving too fast,” said Obama.
John Mearsheimer, a political analyst and expert on US-Israeli relations, believes it is clear that the United States is losing patience with Netanyahu and the overall situation in Israel.
“Behind closed doors, the United States is furious with Israel because Israel is pursuing a policy that is not in American national interests,” said the expert.
The expert explained that Obama sees very clearly that Israel is being isolated around the world and the Palestinians are gaining the upper hand in terms of world opinion.
“What’s going to happen here, is that it’s going to be Israel and the United States against the rest of the world. This is disastrous for the United States and this is disastrous for Israel. And that’s the message that Obama is sending to Netanyahu, but unfortunately the message is not getting through”.
However, Mearsheimer added Obama is unlikely to put too much pressure on Israel as he fears it would do great damage to his political future, especially in the light of the forthcoming elections.
“For the foreseeable future there’s virtually no chance that the United States will stop supporting Israel unconditionally. The Israel lobby is just too powerful in this country for any president to really get tough with Israel,” Mearsheimer told RT.
When addressing the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington, President Obama has made sure to reaffirm the unwavering support of the United States for Israel. He also made sure his Thursday speech did not leave anyone uncomfortable. And given how important the support of the Jewish lobby is in the US presidential elections, president Obama had to do some explaining.
“I know that stating these principles on the issues of territory and security generated some controversy over the past few days. I wasn’t surprised. I know very well that the easy thing to do, particularly for a president preparing for re-election is to avoid any controversy, so let me reaffirm what 1967 lines with mutually-agreed swaps means. By definition it means that the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4th, 1967,” stated the US president.
So what president Obama basically said at the AIPAC conference was: “Here is the solution that the United States suggests, but Washington will in no way put any pressure on Israel to advance the process.”
As for going back to 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations, the solution is not new – the UN, the European Union, Russia have long been supporting it. So President Obama’s attempt to please both the international community and Israel seems to have resulted in yet another non-starter in the Middle East peace process.